I hauled myself out of bed this morning and headed to Pagan Pride Day.
The event is interesting because much of it is structured using the metaphor of “coming out of the broom closet.” Many of the people there have been exploring paganism in their private lives for a while, but keep this part of their lives secret from their friends, families and coworkers.
The event opened with everyone standing in a big circle probably 20 feet across. Five of the people standing roughly equally spaced around the circle said parts of a welcoming speech and as they did they tossed a big ball of yarn around. The order that they used made a big star in the middle of the circle. Then they passed the ball to each of the people around the outside, and as they did each person said what in their path brought them to this place.
The people ran the gamut from the well experienced to “solitary” people for whom this was their first public gathering to spouses to simple tourists like myself. It was surprising to see that there were at least ten percent of the people for whom this was a real coming out. This was the first time for them to publicly let other people know that they’re pagan. I can only imagine how exciting that was.
I was really curious and I talked to a couple different people about how exactly paganism fits into their lives. One of the most interesting was an ex-Baptist minister who told me that for fifteen years every morning he wakes up and ask God to use him as a tool in his work that day, each evening he spends in prayer of thanksgiving for God using him that day.
I understand the Baptists and I understand generally the context of how a Baptist would expect that prayer to be answered. Becoming a pagan is decidedly not what the average Baptist would expect God to want them to do. I asked him about it and he said he’s at a place in his life where he can’t explain why God wants what God wants, his job is just to do it.
I’m reminded of a quotation from Rilke:
I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
At this point in my life I can only really stand in awe of a faith like that.